Abandoned rose gardens in Needville, Texas

oneontheway(z8b Houston TX)January 8, 2012

One of my favorite old garden rose nurseries of all time was the Vintage Rosery in Fort Bend County. It is about an hour from Houston where I live and had some five acres of beautiful gardens. Unfortunately, one of the owners suddenly died (what was her name?) and her husband never reopened. That was many, many years ago.

Anyway, I was headed down to the coast last week and drove by the place. A new restaurant opened next door so we stopped there for lunch. (Awesome food, BTW!) So I was talking to the owner of the restaurant and he told me the nursery owner moved to Costa Rica after his wife died but couldn't bear to dig up her gardens. So, he kept his gardener on full time to keep caring for the roses all these years! And they are closed to the public! OK, the gardens are not really abandoned, per se, as they are being somewhat cared for. But no one goes to see them. No one! Is that weird?

Well, I just couldn't resist getting lost and wondering across the driveway and walking through all the gardens. Oh my God! They were all in bloom and smelled so wonderful. Hundreds of varieties. Some still had the botanical markers. Most did not. I found a climbing Souvenir de la Malmaison! I have never seen one before, but I knew that is what it had to be as there was a 20' row of the shrub variety nearby. Did I mention the fragrances were overwhelming? We wondered for more than an hour looking for our way back to our car. :) There has to be more than a thousand rose bushes amongst all the gardens surrounding a large lake. It seemed rather unreal walking among all those beautiful old roses and being the only ones there. I just didn't want to leave. It sort of seemed like my own secret garden.

My only regret is not having my camera with me. But we are going back and will have it with us in case we get lost again. I cannot imagine what that place will look like in the spring.

Should anyone else happen to be driving down Hwy 36 and see The Jay Cafe across from the Needville High School, I strongly suggest you stop to eat there and lose your way as you look for your car.

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What an adventure! And what a beautiful memorial to the man's wife. I can think of nothing lovelier than a mysterious rose garden. Okay, a garden people could see would also be lovely, but a secret rose garden is amazing.

I love the lost and mysterious about the world. I hate the idea that someday all will be known. The idea that the world is "a small place after all"? Ugh.


    Bookmark   January 8, 2012 at 12:42PM
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seil zone 6b MI

Sounds so romantic! I so hope you have your camera next time you get lost!

    Bookmark   January 8, 2012 at 1:29PM
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I was fortunate to have worked with the Texas Rose Rustlers and the Fort Bend Master Gardeners in "rescuing" many of the roses at the Vintage Rosery in Needville, Tx. The owner's wife,Marcia, passed away and he no longer wanted to keep the nursery open. We worked there in January and February of 2009 and there was a final rose sale there on May 9, 2009. I've not been back since then, but I will say that it was a sad, but wonderful experience for me.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2012 at 7:00PM
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I've looked at the Vintage Rosery website many times; their descriptions of tea roses were more detailed than in most other places I'd found. I knew the descriptions were written by someone who loved those roses. I was sorry to hear about the nursery's closing and her death. The website is still up, though, and there is a nice picture of the Mrs. and some of the gardens.

What a bittersweet memory for you, Molly.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2012 at 7:17PM
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Wow ! I live not too far off. I will try and drive to that place. Thanks for the post.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2012 at 1:24PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

What a beautiful and romantic memorial.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2012 at 2:11PM
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alameda/zone 8

This will make a wonderful spring road trip - and my son's name is Jay so will be sure to eat at the cafe! I am sorry I didnt take the time to visit when the nursery was open but I look forward to getting lost in this beauty!

    Bookmark   January 11, 2012 at 12:39PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

We'll be coming home through TX in the spring.
Told DH about this, and it's going onto our agenda.


    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 11:24PM
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aimeekitty(9-10, SW 18)

how romantic!!!

I have a friend in TX, but she's like 2+ hours away,... I'm not sure I can swing that, but it's such a lovely story, thanks for sharing.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2012 at 6:34PM
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I visited the blog and read her story as told by the local newspaper. The tears in my eyes are interfering with what I want to type. Very moving.
The garden is so special. Truly a true love story.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2012 at 2:58AM
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oneontheway(z8b Houston TX)

Oh, Jeannie. Thank you for mentioning that. I just had my own cry after finding their story. Now Marcia's gardens are even more special to me. What a tearful and amazing love story. Now I understand why Bob has maintained the rose gardens all these years even though he left after his wife died.

Cannot wait for spring to return to my secret gardens.

I am posting the link for all. Click on Marcia's Story near the bottom. But don't go there unless you have kleanex by your mouse!

Here is a link that might be useful: Secret garden site in Needville

    Bookmark   January 28, 2012 at 1:40PM
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